Subject Matter

QConsider the role of audience and the specific historical context in which a poem is written and published. Specifically, compare and contrast how the respective audience of readers in context may have influenced the poetry of Anne Bradstreet and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Address not only how the content (themes, subject matter) may have been impacted, but how the form (language, structure, style) of their poetry may be shaped by the expectations of the readership as well. Required length: 300 – 400 words.

Select one of the poems in the course readings (not by Bradstreet or Dunbar since they were the focus of Journal 4). Write a preliminary formal analysis of this poem, focusing not solely on what is expressed but how the poet crafts the poem to achieve this expression. For example, consider the use of language, the formal structure and the poetic style. Identify at least three literary elements in the poem to develop your analysis and include at least two quotations from the poem in your writing. Required length: 300 – 400 words.

  • William Shakespeare, “Sonnet CXXXVIII (138)”
  • Anne Bradstreet, “Upon the Burning of Our House” & “Before the Birth of One of Her Children”
  • John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale”
  • William Blake, “London”
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Sympathy,” “We Wear the Mask” & “When Malindy Sings”
  • Emily Dickinson, “(This World Is Not Conclusion)”
  • Walt Whitman, “A Noiseless Patient Spider”
  • Robert Frost, “Design”
  • Wilfred Owen, “Dulce et Decorum Est”
  • Langston Hughes, “The Weary Blues”
  • Carl Sandburg, “Chicago”
  • H.D., “Oread” & “Helen”
  • William Carlos Williams, “Danse Russe” & “The Great Figure”
  • Philip Levine, “What Work Is”

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